Chicago Union Station (North) + Ogilvie Transportation Center Layout

nlaempire Jun 16, 2012

  1. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    This is a place holder for this project because I like the forum layout better than the blog layout.
    The summaries and overviews presented here express my intentions and not what actually exists.
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    Project Overview:
    Theme: Dense Urban, Railfanning
    Location: Downtown Chicago
    West->East: N. Desplaines St. -> Chicago River
    South->North: W. Washington Blvd. -> W. Kinzie St.
    Layout size: 12'x13' "L" shaped (rotated 180 degrees)
    Gauge: N (1:160)
    Benchwork: "Tetris" modular, L-Girder w/ 1x2 supports, 2x2 legs, foam board
    Electronics: DCC (undecided brand), 100% tortoise turnouts, computer dispatching
    Trackwork: Cork roadbed w/ ME flex (concrete and wood per real-world), mix of Atlas, ME and Peco turnouts
    Traffic flow: Point-to-point and subterranean loopback
    References: Google Earth, Bing, YouTube
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    Motive Power Summary:
    10x Kato F40PH (9x Metra custom paint, 1x Amtrak Ph.5 custom paint)
    3x Kato MP36PH, Metra
    3x Kato P42 Genesis, Amtrak Ph.5
    1x Atlas MP15DC, UP
    1x Atlas GP38-2, UP
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    Rolling Stock Summary:
    3x 3-bay covered hoppers (mix of brands and BNSF, IC roads)
    70x Kato bi-level Metra passenger cars
    12x Kato bi-level Metra cab-cars
    6x Kato Amfleet passenger cars
    9x Kato Superliner cars
    1x Kato Ph5 Baggage car
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    Trainset Summary:
    1x Amtrak Empire Builder
    1x Amtrak Hiawatha
    11x Metra commuter trains (varying consists listed below)
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    Operations Summary:


    (more summaries to follow, including layout cad images - gotta go to work till 9am)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2012
  2. Eagle2

    Eagle2 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This has so much potential - somewhere I have a snap I took of a mini container yard along the Metra tracks between Beverly and downtown. Pretty much just a paved siding and a couple of PiggyPackers (or something similar). And I'm pleased to see I'm not the only one with screwy hours - I'm posting this fresh off duty!
     
  3. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    Darn, was hoping to be able to continue to edit the first post. Anyway:
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    Ogilvie Transportation Center will be abbreviated as OTC throughout these posts.
    Chicago Union Station North will be abbreviated as CHN.
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    Operations Summary:
    • Metras departing OTC will run point-to-point, pausing partially exposed at the upper left portion of the layout. 4 trains of varying lengths can pause there. Shorter trains will be able to have a different return track.
    • Metras arriving at OTC will have the option to pause and depart OTC, or pass hidden to depart CHN.
    • Metras departing CHN will have the option to pause hidden, returning to CHN backwards, execute a hidden reverse loop and return to CHN forwards, or pass under the layout to arrive at CHN from the west again.
    • Metras arriving at CHN will have the option to pause and depart CHN, pass hidden to depart OTC, execute a hidden reverse and depart CHN facing forwards, or pass under the layout to arrive at CHN from the west again.
    • The Amtrak Hiawatha, Amtrak Empire Builder and any metras containing MP36PH motive power will be restricted to CHN.
    • The Amtrak Empire Builder will always execute a reverse loop.
    • The Amtrak Hiawatha will have the option to reverse loop or not.
    • The GP38-2 will spend most of its time on an unpowered stub connected to a single hopper.
    • The MP15DC will spend most of its time parked in the open-air engine shop.
    The main reason the layout is designed as such is to simulate much greater rail traffic than the layout could otherwise hold. Arrival and departure schedules will most likely be compressed by 2 or 3 times time.
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    Typical Consists:
    Empire Builder: P42-P42-BAG-CCH-SLP-DIN-CCH-OBS-CBG-SLP-CCH (option: add SLP-DIN)
    Hiawatha: P42-AMFLT-AMFLT-AMFLT-AMFLT-AMFLT-AMFLT-F40PH (option: replace 4x AMFLT with HZN FLEET kitbash)
    1xMetra: F40PH-9xBILV-CAB
    1xMetra: F40PH-F40PH-8xBILV-CAB
    1xMetra: F40PH-8xBILV-CAB
    1xMetra: F40PH-7xBILV-CAB
    1xMetra: MP36PH-7xBILV-CAB
    2xMetra: MP36PH-6xBILV-CAB
    2xMetra: F40PH-5xBILV-CAB
    1xMetra: F40PH-4xBILV-CAB
    1xMetra: F40PH-3xBILV-CAB
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My goal is to have a minimum of 4 trains moving at any one time. Destinations will be randomly selected for the Metras via computer as well as routing. The MP15 can be added into the mix to build optional Metra consists. Also, an unpowered custom model of the 5000 series L-train will be placed on the layout's overhead rail system that passes over OTC.
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    Major Structural Features:
    OTC, CHN, Boeing Int'l HQ building, River Center, Randolph Place, Residences at Left Bank, Riverbend Condos, Alta at K Station, Echelon at K Station, Blommer Chocolate Factory
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    Major Rail Features:
    OTC interlocking: 23 double-slips,3 triple turnouts,19 single turnouts that will form 4 double crossovers
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    [​IMG]
    This layout I consider to be a module, but consists of 5 sub-modules. Now you can see what I mean by "tetris" modular. The cut lines had to be made in this fashion to avoid having a cut where turnouts occur. Tracks in dark blue are below-grade. Tracks in red indicate a dead end. At this time, 4 tracks exit to the west and 4 to the north. I am also considering the option to have an additional 2 sub-modules south of #4 to accommodate a rail yard and high-speed 3-rail travel on a slightly lower level. At this time, there are no plans for the 4 northern rails, but the rails exiting west will reduce to 2 and cross a river/coastline module, then into a mountain module. The southernmost 3 feet of rail in sub-module 1 will be hidden from view by structures. Module 5 will be built last because it will be the most expensive.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2012
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It will be very interesting to see your concept drawing for this layout.
     
  5. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    Drawing added into above post.
     
  6. Cajonpassfan

    Cajonpassfan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow, that's a a great concept! Love the river framing the east side!
    I hope you like scratch building big structures, bridges and all the other things needed to say CHICAGO!
    Regards, Otto K.
     
  7. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    I definitely plan on scratch building just about every structure in the area. I'm going to cheat a little though, creating laser-cut wood model kits and 3d-printed model pieces. Everywhere I've looked (and I've done a few hundred virtual tours of that whole area of Chicago) I see something I want to model. From water taxis to manhole covers... I plan on building sidewalk and road forming modules that I can just spread smooth-it or a similar material into to make sure the roads are at the exact elevation I need them. The Boeing HQ building is going to be 42" tall! I plan on making most of the buildings removeable since I am using them to hide the seams of the modules. I'm also looking into making removeable road sections as well. Fortunately, I managed to keep the water areas isolated in their own sub-modules so I don't have a cut-line there. I', pretty much at the point where I can begin the benchwork for sub-module 1, but I want to do a few more sectional drawings to catch anything I might be missing.
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    This should keep you really busy at the work bench!
     
  9. Backshop

    Backshop TrainBoard Member

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    The Union Station activities you are modeling are out of the north end -- The old MILW-UP tracks? Do the old CNW commuter routes figure in this plan?
     
  10. Railroad Bill

    Railroad Bill TrainBoard Member

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    Will enjoy seeing this project go forward. Seeing Chicago area grow on the layout will be a treat for a re-located Chicagoan. Like very much the goal of simulating realistic train traffic, especially passenger runs.

    Wonder if trackage should also support some freight traffic?
     
  11. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    I know that the Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West, and North Central lines are now serviced by Chicago North and will be on the arrival/departure schedules, but the layout just covers the approach to CHN and OTC. If you go to Google maps and enter "Ogilvie Transportation Center" you should be able to identify the area I'm covering (or use the video links below to ride the Metra) I won't be modeling much farther north and west than the Blommer Chocolate factory. I would definitely like to add a portion of the Chicago-Aurora Raceway though. UP West is serviced by Ogilvie.

    Railroad Bill, it does bother me to some degree that this layout will be near 100% passenger service. I will have the GP38 parked by Blommer along with 3 covered hoppers, but there is no place for it to go. The MP-15 will occassionally drag some metra cars around for building different consists, but that hardly counts as real freight service. If you look at sub-module 4, I'm considering making a 4-foot wide sub-module yard to the south of it as well as a 3-track high-speed area, both of which will see freight traffic. The only issues I have with putting it there is that it doesn't technically belong there (both in location and orientation) and it would be point-to point until I design the next main module for Chicago to connect to. I could probably overlook the location and orientation if do it right.

    YouTube Links:
    Note: turn the volume down if you don't want Metra bells in the head all day.

    Arriving at Chicago North on the Milwaukee West Line (modelling begins at the underpass at time 2:53)
    Arriving and departing traffic at Ogilvie (2x speed)
    Arriving and departing traffic at Chicago North (12x speed)
    Arriving at OTC from Elmhurst on the UP West Line (modelling begins at the end of the yellow building at time 19:56)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2012
  12. k-59

    k-59 TrainBoard Member

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    I am not sure quite how you would fit it in your plan, but you might include the Nay Pier branch as a way to add some more freight traffic.
     
  13. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    K-59, I see the navy pier off to the east on the coast, but the only rail I could find near it is the L-train station at the stadium, and 2 isolated tracks dockside. Can you give me directions to the branch you're referring to?
     
  14. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    SUB-MODULE 1:
    • 5'-2" wide x 5'-6" long
    • 3 levels: CHN, OTC, and subterranean transition
    • contains CHN interlocking: 1 custom crossover, 1 dbl slip, 8 turnouts, 25mm track spacing
    • contains majority of OTC under the canopy: storage for multiple trains, 4 track transition to CHN
    • Buildings: OTC(partial), Randolph Place, Boeing HQ, River Center
    • 2 road bridges, 1 with overhead rail

    Red rails indicate a dead end at OTC elevation (+2")
    Light blue rails indicate pass-through route between OTC and CHN as well as CHN interlocking
    Dark Blue rails indicate below-grade travel (2 routes)
    [​IMG]

    I just started cutting the wood for the benchwork this evening! This is my first ever project so everything I do is a major learning experience. Example: hand-cutting 14 degree vertical matching angles perfectly is near impossible. I suspect there will be some liberal application of wood filler in my future.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 18, 2012
  15. ChicagoNW

    ChicagoNW E-Mail Bounces

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    [​IMG]

    Just some things to consider…

    • Metra does not turn trains. The loco pulls out of the city and pushes from the suburbs. Hence the need for the cab car.
    • Metra owns it own switchers for maintenance and pulling duties.
    • Last time I saw a picture the Geep used the Ogilvie Center for moving locos was in C&NW colors.
    • Unless the loco is disabled or being tested as it is a completely new series the locos are never doubled up.
    • The cars are in sets that can be left downtown for midday runs. The sets were two or thee coaches and a cab. Cabs are found in the middle of the train when in multiple sets. Two sets are the norm.
    GO had the MP40 built to pull more than eight cars.
    • Heavier rush hour routes get more trains. There may be as little as 10 minutes between trains. The triple tracks allow hopscotching stations. (the cause of, distracted commuter, splat)
    • Some midday runs are as small a cab an loco. It's rush hour version would be one or two sets plus the extra cab.
    • Cars not on midday runs may be taken to the main yard for repair and maintenance.
    • Not all the cars are the new series. Both of the ConCor designs will still be used.

    Make note that some of the ConCors are not generic Metra but marked for the operating carrier, i.e. BNSF as well. The smoothside cars have C&NW heritage. The eight window corugated ones have a CB&Q origin. ConCors work better with more weight. The old underbody equipment weight from CC is perfect. It doesn't take much to light the CCs and the Cab lights in either DC or DCC are easy. Tamiya makes a Transparent Green to tint the windows. The older cars had green glass as dark as 60s sunglasses.

    The Wheels of Time cars make great yard fillers. I never got mine to work in service.

    Look Models cars are insanely great.

    Your L cars can be powerd with a Tomy/TomyTec TM-04 chassis with the power pickups cups ground off and placed behind the wheel. Slowly sand the points off the wheels. BanDai makes trucks with power pickups that match the Tomix ones for the trailing car.

    [​IMG]
    This set was made before the trailing trucks could pick up power. The white wires are for lights in the trailer.
     
  16. nlaempire

    nlaempire TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow, CNW, glad you gave that info to me before I bought that many cars. I did notice in some of the videos the BN bi-levels. One of the videos I posted shows at least 2 trains with double engines within the same hour. The smallest Metra I've ever seen video of had 3 cars including the cab car. Thank you for the info on powering the 5000 series.
     
  17. ChicagoNW

    ChicagoNW E-Mail Bounces

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    Glad to know the info is useful. A great book I have is Chicagoland Commuter Railroads Metra & Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District by Patrick C. Dorin and Andrew T. Roth published by Iconographix

    It's mostly a picture book but it has tons of information, equipment lists, histories of the various lines. black and white plus color pictures. For your project it is important.

    If you are concentrating on the post E unit era of Metra, remember the new equipment is more powerful. By the 60s and 70s some of those Es were on there second rebuild. Depending on the season the power requirements of the cars can be substantial. And the Class ones did not want to spend money on maintenance.
    [​IMG]
    Some got really rebuilt like this former E9B unit.

    Green Frog has some great videos of the pre-Metra era. The Ogilvie Center is built on the ground of the C&NW Station. The movies include many railroads that you would not expect to provide commuter service to Chicago like the Pennsy and New York Central. Until the 70s Chicago had six major stations that fed the rest of the nation.

    You might not know but besides Kato and Life-Like/Walthers the F40 loco was sold by Model Power made by Mehano. I came in a RTA scheme. The body does drop onto the Kato chassis.

    They also sold it in classic Warbonnet. ConCor obliged by offering Santa Fe Gallery cars.

    A cool historical train to visit the station is the Aerotrain as it ended it's career in Rock Island shields hauling commuters.
     
  18. k-59

    k-59 TrainBoard Member

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    Sure thing. Here is map that shows the bridge over the Chicago river. http://binged.it/NNkqZN And a website with more info about the branch http://www.chicagoswitching.com/v6/articles/articlelisting.asp?locationid=6

    A few more notes. Metra does regularly double head trains, thought I have never quite figured out the exact logistics of it. Also a minor language tidbit, no one from Chicago would say coast it's always lakeshore or lakefront.
     
  19. mcjaco

    mcjaco TrainBoard Member

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    Last time I saw a picture the Geep used the Ogilvie Center for moving locos was in C&NW colors. They have a UP GP15 in use now.
    • Unless the loco is disabled or being tested as it is a completely new series the locos are never doubled up. Totally inaccurate. At least one consist every rush hour is doubled up. That way a spare is out on the system in case of a failure.
     
  20. ChicagoNW

    ChicagoNW E-Mail Bounces

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    Will you kit-bash any Winnebagos?
     

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